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This Week at CaféJazz.ca

January 1, 2006
Edition #390 Previously Next

Special Presentation - The Best of 2005 - Part 1
Happy New Year! For our first show in '06 we're featuring a retrospective of the last year, and what a year it was! Over the course of 46 original programs and well over 130 hours of music, we've featured 1128 carefully selected tracks performed by 466 artists from literally hundreds of albums. With that in mind we embark on our most ambitious series of specials yet! Included on this edition are Richard Elliot, Jeff Golub, Brian Culbertson, Queen Latifah, Chuck Loeb, Gregg Karukas, & Steve Cole. There's more though, as intrinsic to our continuing mission we're compelled to go well beyond playing just hits. Style and mood are what we're all about. As such we have tracks from Janita, Jay Soto, & Jason Parra as well as many other fresh & cool sounds. So sit back and relax and get set to celebrate all that was great in '05!

In This Issue:

Zanzibar - Daryl Stuermer
Coastline - Richard Elliot
Sweet Saxations - Pamela Williams
Pacific Coast Highway - Nils
Deep Into You - Gregg Karukas
Have You Heard - Jeff Golub


***Most Played in '05 ***

Highlights Hour One
Zanzibar - Daryl Stuermer:

In spite of a solo career that dates all the way back to 1988, Daryl Stuermer is better known for his work with Genesis & the Phil Collins Band. Apart from this obvious affiliation to the worlds of pop & rock, Stuermer's résumé includes touring with legendary jazz-violinist Jean-Luc Ponty back in the 70s. Indeed, Daryl's own debut & his subsequent efforts veered toward to fusion. Nevertheless, Stuermer's Another Side of Genesis released in the year 2000 paid an obvious nod to his longtime connection with Collins & Genesis. Yet it was Daryl's follow up efforts that successfully showed another side of Stuermer himself, one that saw him not only blend many diverse influences from his past, but also push into new territory. This all seems to have culminated with Retrofit! Hard to believe, 2005 marked the first year that we played any music from Mr. Stuermer on our show, but in our own small way we've done what we can to rectify that situation!

CD: Retrofit
Label: Urban Island Music
Site: Daryl Stuermer

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Coastline - Richard Elliot:
The best laid plans of mice & men sometimes go astray and such was the case with this excellent album. In my haste to give new & lesser known artists an opportunity to be heard, I sometimes tend to overlook more established stars that really don't need my support to be successful. They've done it already & without me! Nevertheless, I must admit that this excellent album could have easily made our top twenty most played list for the year and perhaps would have there if the creation of a weekly show were less of an art and more of a science. In any event, that certainly can't diminish our enjoyment of this excellent project, one of Elliot's finer releases in recent years.

We will try as much as possible to make amends in the coming year. In the meantime, we have this superb track, one of our all time favourites from Mr. Elliot. An old friend, Rick Braun guests on trumpet & flugelhorn, Gregg Karukas handles keys & programming and that's Dwight Sills filling in on guitar. This is an absolutely superb piece that's highlighted by the soothing & sensual playing of Elliot himself on tenor sax. It's smooth, moody & melodic; just the way we like them!

CD: Metro Blue
Label: ARTizen Music Group
Site: Richard Elliot
Sweet Saxations - Pamela Williams:
I first got hooked on her music with The Saxtress, Pamela Williams' 1996 debut, and ever since then I've definitely enjoyed an affinity for her playing. There was little that transpired in the years that followed that would cause me to alter that opinion that is until the release of The Perfect Love in 2003. On The Perfect Love, Pamela suddenly took her music to an entirely new level! That was when I realized that Ms Williams was indeed the "first lady of sax" and so naturally I've given Pam her due ever since!

So was I excited when Pam followed that release with Sweet Saxations in 2005? Well in a phrase, you bet I was! Not only was the first lady of sax back, she was sounding better than ever! Funky & soulful, energetic and smooth, Sweet Saxations has it all! Consequently, it isn't surprising to find the album & Ms Williams on our end of the year "most played" list. When pressed to find a selection that would represent the quintessential Pamela Williams, I didn't have to look very hard as any of several could have easily filled the bill. None, however, is any sweeter than title track!

CD: Sweet Saxations
Label: Shanachie Entertainment
Site: Pamela Williams
Pacific Coast Highway - Nils:
You know how it is when you hear certain songs and you just immediately connect. That's the way that it was with Nils & PCH back in January of 2005. You could immediately tell this was no ordinary selection & that it was destined to become a mammoth hit! Prior to releasing this his sophomore project, Nils was known only in a select circle, to musicians in and around the LA area that he'd played with & to a small number of avid music enthusiasts who had followed his career with great anticipation! It's now hard to imagine anyone on the planet, who enjoys smooth jazz and hasn't heard of the German born guitarist & this stellar effort.

If you're reading this, you yourself have no doubt grooved along to this fantastic tune that musically simulates a cruise along that famed stretch of highway in California that was the namesake for the project & for the track. Nils was not only our "breakthru" artist for 2005, he also was the author of our #1 most played album & #1 most played selection for the year. He also just narrowly got beat out for being the most played artist over all. Nevertheless, I'm betting that the accolades will continue to roll in for quite some time yet as the album is heavily laden with an abundance of choice tracks!

CD: Pacific Coast Highway
Label: Baja/TSR
Site: Nils

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Highlights Hour Two
Deep Into You - Gregg Karukas:
A perennial favourite on our show, Karukas delivered one of his finest overall performances to date in 2005. The lead single from the album was rather prophetically titled London Underground and was released to radio prior to the tragic London subway bombing this past summer. Although the track was starting to generate some excitement, Karukas decided to abandon its promotion in light of those tragic events. As a result, the cd lost a bit of all important momentum.

Nevertheless, there isn't a bad track on the record while the sequencing of the selections is particularly impressive! A slew of top flight talent is headed up by Rick Braun, Ricardo Silveira, Thom Rotella, and Michael O'Neill and Peter White & Richard Smith are both featured on Deep Into You, one of our absolute favourites on the disc. Smooth, soothing and laid back, you can get lost in the melodies & simply drift away! There are eleven tracks in all on Looking Up and over the course of the past few months we've played seven on our show, one of the highest totals for any album in '05! For all Karukas fans, this one is a must!

CD: Looking Up
Label: trippin 'n' Rhythm Records
Site: Gregg Karukas
Have You Heard? - Jeff Golub:
Long one of the most popular performers on the contemporary scene, Golub's unique bluesy tinged blend of rhythm 'n' rock, has found an avid following among the smooth jazz crowd. Although he released his solo debut back in '88, Jeff didn't really hit his musical stride until he launched the Avenue Blue series in 1994. Since then it's been ever onward & upward for Golub who now boasts an impressive catalogue of three "Blue albums" and five more under his own name.

On Temptation, his latest effort released in 2005, Golub for the first time connected with top producer Paul Brown. This affiliation certainly doesn't seem to have hurt Jeff any. Perhaps a bit smoother than some of his previous efforts, this may his most focused, and in my humble opinion, his finest project to date! We debuted the album in May of last year by playing Simple Pleasures, the advance single. Since then we've gone on to play another seven selections, meaning we've played a total of 8 tracks all from the same cd. That fact makes Temptation, the most "represented album" on our show for all of '05.

CD: Temptation
Label: Narada Jazz
Site: Jeff Golub

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site:
As our Best of 2005, Part One continues we present an outstanding line up! Heading things up, we've included music from George Benson, George Duke, Walter Beasley, Keiko Matsui & Jim Brickman to name just some of the more established artists that we're playing. But we're also featuring 3D, Cascadu, Mike Di Lorenzo, Walter Duda, Danny Federici, David Boswell and quite a few others that are not as well known. This is a two hour presentation with a total of 27 incredible selections, so once you're done listening to the first hour please click on the second paw for more!

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